Some people might come up with the question, but who is Mary? These people might not necessarily be non-believers but could be people of little faith or even people proclaiming of having a strong faith. The ‘Hail Mary’ prayer answers this question of who Mary is. The ‘Hail Mary’ prayer has the following wording:
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Anyone who has a good knowledge of the Bible would know that part of the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer is taken from the Bible. The first part of this prayer refers to the angel Gabriel, and also to Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin. As we read in Luke 1:28, the angel Gabriel greeted Mary at the Annunciation with the following words, ‘Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee’. Furthermore, in Luke 1:42, we find Elizabeth’s welcoming words upon the visit by Mary, as follows: ‘Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus’. By time around the mid-eleventh century, these two particular Bible verses where joined together to form part of the ‘Hail Mary’.
The second part of the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer, referring to ‘Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death’, was added around the fourteenth and fifteenth century. The intention of adding the second part was to ask for Mary’s intercession on our behalf.
These two particular parts of the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer, clearly show that this prayer has its roots in the Bible as well as in the people’s faith together with the reflection of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2679, clearly shows the importance of asking Mary’s intercession, as indicated in the words: ‘Mary is the perfect Orans (prayer), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope’.
So, who is Mary? The first answers are clearly indicated through the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer. She is filled with Grace and the Lord is always with her. Mary is blessed among all the women and also blessed is her son Jesus. Mary is Holy and she is the Mother of God. Mary prays for all the sinners in every moment of a person’s life and especially she will pray for them at the hour of their death. By trusting in Mary, man can approach her knowing that she welcomes all the sinners, and leads them to her son Jesus, so they can receive Salvation.
(This monthly reflection is an extract from my Christian Book ‘Her Silence’)